The USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute’s Laboratory of Neuro Imaging received a $21.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study epilepsy. The money will fund a team of researchers working on a project titled the Epilepsy Bioinformatics Study for Antiepileptogenic Therapy, which aims to discover a cure for epilepsy and develop prevention treatments.
Epilepsy is characterized by periodic episodes of sensory disturbance, unconsciousness and convulsions, linked to abnormal electrical communication between neurons. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, the disorder is the fourth most common neurological disorder, behind migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s.
The team of international researchers will focus on epilepsy caused following a traumatic brain injury as those types of brain damage can be reproduced and studied in animal models. The researchers also believe that a cure for post-traumatic epilepsy may lead to a cure for all types of epilepsy.
Arthur Toga, provost professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine and director of the Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, said that grant funds will also be used to educate patients on how epilepsy develops and build bridges between centers for traumatic brain injuries and epileptic individuals, according to USC News.